If you don’t understand the Bible (or if you don’t feel smart enough to read it for yourself) this post is just for you! It will encourage you + give you confidence based on God’s promises + show you one simple thing to do when you don’t understand what you’re reading. Scroll down to learn how to understand the Bible!
Her confession broke my heart.
She was asked, “What keeps you from studying the Bible?”
And her answer? “I’m not smart enough.”
My heart just broke for her!
But it made me mad, too. Why should any woman feel she’s not smart enough to read God’s Word? Why should she think she needs to be super-smart or well-educated to study the Bible?
And yet this woman isn’t the only one who feels this way. The most common answer to the question about studying the Bible is that women don’t know where—or how—to start. But the second most common answer is that women simply don’t understand the Bible.
In a way, I can understand this. The Bible is deep! It’s full of huge ideas—concepts that are above our heads because they’re God-sized. We have a hard time wrapping our minds around them simply because we are not God.
But, on the other hand, God has given us His Word in order to communicate to us.
God doesn’t intend for us not to understand Him. That’s not communication. His intention is for each of us to read His Word and to understand His message. He intends for it to be meaningful & useful to us. I know because He says so in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NKJV)
I do recognize that it can be hard to understand the Bible. But I refuse to accept that I can’t understand the Bible at all. It’s clear that God intends for us to understand it.
So what should we do when we don’t understand the Bible?
God has given His Word to communicate with us. We believe that we ought to be able to understand it. And yet, we still don’t. So what are we supposed to do when we don’t understand His Word?
Should we throw our hands up in defeat & never read the Bible? Should we leave Bible study to pastors & missionaries? Or should we drop everything and go to seminary?
Personally, I completed 5 years of Bible college. I got a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies—plus a Bible certificate on top of that. And I can teach you any number of little tips & tricks for understanding the Bible. In fact I look forward to sharing those with you here on the blog in the future. 😉
But the major key to understanding the Bible? You don’t have to go to Bible college for that. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you already have the one thing you need when you don’t understand the Bible. You have the Holy Spirit!
In John 14:26, Jesus said about the Holy Spirit:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (NKJV)
God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us understand His Word!
Wow. That is quite a resource.
And it’s available to anyone who has trusted in Christ. If you’re a believer, then you have the Holy Spirit. And if you have the Holy Spirit, then you CAN understand the Bible!
So what should you do when you don’t understand the Bible? Ask God for the help of the Holy Spirit. Here are a few specific, biblical examples of ways you can ask God to help you understand the Bible:
- Fill me with the knowledge of Your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (Colossians 1:9).
- Increase my knowledge of You (Colossians 1:10).
- Open the eyes of my understanding (Ephesians 1:18).
- Give me the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You (Ephesians 1:17).
- Grant me wisdom, understanding, discernment, & knowledge (Proverbs 2:2-7).
- Give me understanding (2 Timothy 2:7).
- Give me strength to comprehend (Ephesians 3:18).
- Give me wisdom (James 1:5).
There are many more you could pray, but that’s probably plenty to get you started. 😉
Now you know what to do when you don’t understand the Bible!
And now you know what to do to understand the Bible.
My friend, you are well-equipped & prepared to dig into God’s Word for yourself! As the summer draws to a close, try these three tips. Overcome your obstacles to Bible study. And enjoy the victory—open your Bible, read it, and understand it for yourself. 🙂
And if you want more… Well, next on the agenda here at Happy + Healthy Taste Buds is the “Personal Bible Study” Challenge. It will include LOTS of simple, yet super-useful tips—just like the ones we’ve already covered in this “Obstacles to Bible Reading” series. And it begins in August!
You ready to join in?? Enter your email in the box below to be added to the “Personal Bible Study” Challenge! 😀
And happy studying! 🙂